Medicaid expansion

LePage Can Expect A Lawsuit If He Blocks Medicaid Expansion

Jan 5, 2018
In this Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, file photo, supporters of Medicaid expansion celebrate their victory, in Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Much has been written and said about last year’s referendum to expand Maine’s Medicaid program under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the funding battle that’s brewing this year in the Legislature.

But according to Assistant House Majority Leader Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, there will be no battle.

The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee has started the lengthy process of determining how to expand Medicaid, as approved by voters last month.

As many as 90,000 Mainers could be covered by the expansion, but it will take many months before they are actually covered.

“The expectation was that we were going to come in and find the money to get this thing implemented. No, what we met today was basically a fact finding,” says Sen. Jim Hamper, a Republican from Oxford who co-chairs the committee.

Marina Villeneuve / Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage is warning lawmakers that he’ll oppose nearly any method they propose to pay for the expansion of Medicaid that voters in the state approved last month.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor says he's trying to come up with proposed spending cuts to pay for voter-approved Medicaid expansion but says "it's a big reach.''
 
Gov. Paul LePage told The Associated Press "the money has got to be in the bank'' before Maine expands Medicaid to thousands of people at a $54.5 million price tag. LePage didn't detail what cuts could pay for expansion, but previously pushed for cuts to Medicaid eligibility and social assistance programs.
 

AUGUSTA, Maine - A Maine legislative panel is set to discuss the cost of expanding Medicaid to some 70,000 citizens in a public referendum.
 
Voters in November approved a referendum to have Maine join 31 other states in expanding Medicaid. Medicaid expansion would cover adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That's $16,643 for a single person or $22,412 for a family of two.
 
Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said he won't implement the voter-approved expansion until it's fully funded by the state Legislature.
 

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The ballot campaign to expand Medicaid is over. But making sure roughly 70,000 low-income Mainers actually receive that health coverage? Far from it.

Maine's governor and the Legislature - actually legislatures - have battled for years over expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Next week Maine voters can get into the act. Referendum Question 2 would approve the Medicaid expansion. Maine Public’s State House Bureau Chief Steve Mistler has written a story for Maine Public.org about the history of Medicaid expansion and talks about it with Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Next month, voters will decide whether the state should expand Medicaid. At stake is health coverage for an estimated 70,000 Mainers as well as financial stability for hospitals.

The Maine Medical Association and the Maine Primary Care Association are urging voters to support a ballot initiative on next month’s statewide ballot to expand Medicaid.

Their announcement at a press conference in Portland Wednesday follows an endorsement earlier this month by the Maine Hospital Association. But the medical community’s support is not swaying Gov. Paul LePage, who dedicated his weekly radio address to oppose Question 2.

More than 150 small businesses that are part of the Maine Small Business Coalition are officially backing the state ballot question to expand Medicaid. 

At a press conference in Portland Tuesday, local developer Tim Soley said he supports extending health coverage to more people, for both moral and economic reasons.  

Mal Leary / Maine Public

A group of Republican lawmakers, and former GOP party chairman Rick Bennett, are questioning the wording of the citizen initiated ballot question expanding Medicaid coverage.

The group says the proposed wording talks about Medicaid as health insurance instead of what they say it is — a welfare program. They want all references to insurance out of the ballot question. 

Patty Wight / Maine Public/file

PORTLAND, Maine - A citizen initiative to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has qualified for the November 2017 ballot. 

The Secretary of State's office certified more than 66,000 signatures that were collected from October to January.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The group attempting to expand MaineCare health coverage to roughly 70,000 Mainers has submitted signatures to put the issue before voters in November.

Mainers for Health Care says it has collected more than 67,000 signatures to expand MaineCare, Maine's version of Medicaid.

Medicaid expansion has been offered under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Thirty states have expanded coverage, but Republican Gov. Paul LePage and most Republicans in the Legislature have blocked such efforts here nearly a half-dozen times.

Supporters of expanding Medicaid in Maine say they’ve collected enough signatures to put the issue before the Legislature, or the voters.

The citizen initiative has the potential to extend health insurance coverage to 70,000 Mainers. But with the future of the Affordable Care Act uncertain under a Donald Trump presidency, it’s unclear how and if Medicaid expansion could work, even if it is approved here in Maine.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Today in Portland, a coalition of health advocates launched a citizen initiative campaign to expand access to health care. Supporters say it’s time to put the issue of Medicaid expansion directly to Maine voters, after several measures in the legislature have been vetoed by Governor Paul LePage.

Maine is one of 19 states that has opted not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. For Kathleen Phelps of Waterville, who can’t afford health insurance it has created a coverage gap.

Pages